British Bookmakers Donate £1.25m Britannia Stakes profit to Charity
Several UK charities are to have the £1.25 million British bookmakers made in profits from a Royal Ascot race handed to them as donations.
The bookmaking collective offered to donate any money made from the Britannia Stakes, run on Thursday (day 3) of the royal meeting, as part of their fundraising initiative.
Marie Curie and Prostate Cancer UK Among Recipients
Essentially, had a well-backed favourite won the race, and the bookmakers made a loss from the race, no sum would be due. However, any profits made it was agreed in advance would head to several named charities after that.
Three charities related to the armed forces, Marie Curie, Care Radio, and Prostate Cancer UK, were all grateful recipients of what turned out to be £1.25 million in profit from the race after 18/1 shot Peretto came home in front. Perotto was ridden by the week’s leading rider, Oisin Murphy, but had been relatively unfancied before the event.
The fundraising initiative was agreed upon at the beginning of June. The bookmakers involved, part of the BGC (Betting and Gaming Council), were Entain, bet365, Flutter Entertainment, and William Hill.
Entain owns well-known brands Coral, Ladbrokes, Bwin, and Sportingbet, while Flutter is the parent company of Betfair, Paddy Power, and SkyBet.
The money is set to make a huge difference to the charities involved at a time when direct donations by the public have fallen. Although we may never know if it made a difference, punters were aware of the initiative beforehand, and so they have been thanked by the charities as well as the bookmakers themselves.
BGC Members Popular with Charities
Previously, similar initiatives have taken place. For example, BGC members helped the British Greyhound Racing Fun raise another £1 million earlier in the year.
Marie Curie’s Susan Boissier, head of special events, has spoken of her gratitude towards the BGC members who have helped out at a time when support for frontline nursing and hospice care is at a real premium.
Naturally, fundraising has been heavily affected by the coronavirus, so off-the-wall initiatives like this will be needed in the near future.
More Proof Horse Racing’s Reputation is Unfair
We’ve made reference on several occasions about how unfair it is that horse racing bettors are, in a sense, “lumped in” with other “gamblers” when it comes to the tricky subject of gambling-related harm.
Some horse racing punters do indeed suffer problems. However, in the main, punters are using skill, strategy, and form to formulate their bets as opposes to scratchcard, lottery, bingo, and slot players who rely solely on chance.
On their behalf, the bookmaking industry makes regular contributions with whatever losses occur. For example, via the levy fund, bookmakers help fund the sport of horse racing, which is why knowledgeable punters either win or are happy enough to make a controlled loss to keep the sport going.
Now, this charity fundraiser shows that while their reputation for making huge profits at the punters’ expense still stands, bookmakers will also use the money gained from horse racing to bridge the gap between what funding is needed for charity and what is actually coming through from central government and the public.
We can only hope there are more initiatives like this, given that £1.25 million between some of the biggest betting entities on the planet remains a drop in the ocean.